question vouchersI was recently out with some friends and we were joking about the things students do that make use laugh – I ended up mentioning the fact that one of the frustrating things is being asked questions about a task immediately after giving very clear instructions. Picture the scene: 

Teacher is walking around the room handing out a worksheet

Teacher: now guys, you can write your answers on the sheet. (insert any instruction you want here!)

Students looking at sheet – at the top of which it states “write your answers in the spaces provided”

Student 1: Miss … can we write on the sheet? **

**this question is repeated until fade in various forms by different students**

Today I’ve been doing some reading and came across an article in which a teacher suggested the use of “question tokens” that could be exchanged for an answer from the teacher, and as a result I’ve put the attached “answer vouchers” together which I am going to introduce with my new classes in September. They even include a prompt to remind the student not to “waste” their question. 

All of our groups have a folder in which they keep their most recent assessments and their books – the front cover is also used to track their progress over the years 9 to 11 – so if as student doesn’t exchange their token in a specific lesson they could use store them up for use in a later lesson, when they really don’t have a clue! Depending on how this goes, I may encourage them to use the tokens as a currency within the group so that if they ask a peer a question, it could be in exchange for a token. 

It’s got to be worth a try, if only to encourage the students to think about whether they actually know the answer before asking a question. Don’t get me wrong, its not that I don’t want them to ask questions, just to THINK before they do so.